A former senior living caregiver has been found not guilty in the death of an 86-year-old resident left outside in the Colorado heat for six hours. Two other caregivers who entered guilty pleas previously received short sentences and probation.
A representative of the senior living community where all three worked said that the court case result closes a “very difficult chapter in the criminal proceedings.”
Jenny Logan was found not guilty last week by a Mesa County district court jury on one count each of negligent homicide and at-risk neglect in the 2021 death of Hazel Place, who died after being left unattended outside of Cappella of Grand Junction, a Christian Living Communities assisted living and memory care community in Colorado.
Logan was one of three workers on duty in the memory care unit of the community when Place wandered outside to an enclosed courtyard. Former caregivers Letticia Martinez and Jamie Johnson both pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Pam Sullivan, CLC’s vice president of strategy and communication, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the legal proceedings close a “very difficult chapter in the criminal proceedings. We believe the legal outcomes of all three cases speak for themselves.
“We are so sorry the family had to endure this tragic loss and endure these legal proceedings. We continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers,” Sullivan continued. “We are focused on the well-being and safety of the older adults we have the privilege to serve. We take this responsibility very seriously and are, as always, committed to the quality of care and services we provide.”
Martinez received 30 days in jail, 100 hours of community service and a three-year deferred sentence. Monday, Johnston received 60 days in jail, three years probation and 150 hours of community service.
An investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Colorado Department of Law and the Grand Junction Police Department found the three responsible for the death of Place. According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in Grand Junction on June 14, 2021, was 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to investigators, Martinez and Johnston falsified information in the community’s computer system that logs medication distribution and safety checks to make it appear that Place had been regularly monitored, according to The Gazette. Misdemeanor forgery charges connected to that falsification were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas.
Christian Living Communities previously shared with McKnight’s Senior Living that the company “immediately reported the circumstances surrounding the resident’s passing to the appropriate regulatory agencies and launched our own internal investigation.” That investigation resulted in the dismissal of all three caregivers.